It’s great if you know how to choose a vegan delivery service today. But if you don’t, you want to consider the fastest vegan dish to prepare. Hence, try cooking tofu by your own, and do some tweaks to make it tastier.
First, gather your ingredients and utensils.
This recipe calls for:
1 – 2 blocks of extra firm tofu
A bottle of vegetable oil (preferably olive)
A bottle of tamari or soy sauce
A bottle of Thai dipping sauce
A wok or pot
A long spoon you can retrieve the tofu from the hot oil without burning yourself with.
The most important part of making good tofu is the tofu itself. Look for “extra firm tofu” in the grocery store. The firmer the tofu, the better the results. If it is not firm enough, the tofu will never reach a consistency outside of “squishy,” which may be alright for some, but to the average person who is not used to that sort of feel to their food, it will probably be less than pleasant.
Next, cut the tofu into manageable squares.
In a 1 lb block of tofu, I usually cut it in half through the middle (think of the way a flip-phone is divided in half), and then cut it two times down the longer side and three more times down the narrower side, leaving you with 24 half-inch pieces of tofu. Separate the pieces and place them in a bowl with tamari or soy sauce. Let the tofu marinate for a few minutes in the sauce, making sure each piece is uniformly covered. You will be able to tell because the tamari gives the tofu a brown color.
While you’re waiting for the tofu to absorb the sauce, prepare your wok.
You can use a regular pot with high edges if you don’t have access to a wok, or if you feel more comfortable using a pot. Fill the wok or pot about halfway with a vegetable oil, preferably olive oil. Although this oil is expensive, it creates a much cleaner tasting end-product. If you’d like, you can also add some sesame oil in there, but it is not recommended, as sesame oil may burn and give the tofu a slightly burned taste. After it is filled, turn your burner on medium high heat, and wait for the oil to heat up. This is a critical step; if you do not let the oil heat up enough, it will take much longer for the tofu to cook and it will leave the tofu much less firm than desired.
Get ready to fry the tofu.
After the oil has warmed up to an optimal temperature (about 350 degrees, you can check if you have a food thermometer), take a few pieces of tofu at a time and place them in the wok. Be extremely careful at this point — the oil has the potential to splash and burn your hands. This is why it is highly recommended to use a long spoon during this process. Every few minutes, move the tofu around with your long spoon; it has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the wok if you don’t. When the tofu is finished cooking, it will likely rise to the top of the oil. Be sure to get it once it has done so — if you leave it in, it will look as if it’s almost ready to burst and will leave the outside extremely tough while the inside still isn’t cooked all of the way (it’s a bad combination). When you’re removing the tofu from the wok, put it onto a plate with a paper towel lining so it can absorb the extra oil. Repeat the cooking process until all of the tofu is finished.
While cooking tofu, notice how the tofu looks.
This can help you a lot in knowing how “done” it is. If the tofu has somewhat of a leopard-print on it and is still very squishy to the touch, it is not finished. But be careful when trying to avoid that look, because it’s possible to overcook it. When in doubt, just take the tofu out — it will become more firm when it cools and undercooked tofu tastes much better than overcooked.
Suggestions for ways to make the tofu into a meal.
After the tofu is done, you can prepare some fried rice to serve it with, or make a vegetable stir-fry of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and any other vegetables you enjoy in stir-fry to mix with it. It is especially good with Thai dipping sauces, which can further disguise the “tofu” taste. I’ve had picky seven-year-olds to “meat-and-potato-kind-of-guys” eat tofu mixed with broccoli and sauce and love it! Give it a try, you’ll be surprised how tasty tofu can be.